And what's worse is that tidings sent from God
Seem always to arrive at our mealtimes,
And all at once, a whole holy scripture
Packed in one medicine ball sized burst.
I've seen this happen so many times.
The knocks will come just as all sit down
And pick up spoons to start the first course,
Small taps at first and then mighty blows
Until you open door to pure horror,
A nightmare in neck-tie and dark suit
Better suited for graveside sendoffs
Than fine dining and sparkling repartee.
Or worse still, it just comes from nowhere,
Not even landing first on doorstep,
A treasured God-butchered Egyptian pet
That saturates with blood your welcome mat.
No, it arrives without introduction
And plunges through any gap it can find,
Any hole that conversation allows.
An otherwise reticent dinner guest
Will suddenly grow enthused, start to froth,
Start to gurgle a bit and puff vapour
In anticipation of spiritual gush,
Only to pitch forward into his soup,
Strangled by inspiration's enormity.
No wonder many prophets shirk work.
They fear those strains that God's loads impose,
Heavy enough to put you off your feed,
Fog up your eyes, rob your coat of gloss,
And send sexdrive into steep decline.
Many divine intermediaries
Often find their words so weighted down
With the secret meanings that God's piled on
Their tongues struggle around like pinned eels,
Like that of Moses after seeing the bush
Catch fire with the manifold mysteries
Crammed tightly inside an explosive name.
I grow tense when they gabble like that,
When they cough up phlegm and writhe around.
These throes attract appalled bystanders
Who lean forward to better understand
The staccato rattle that reveals all,
Deathbed haiku as composed by duck,
Master's final croak, his last zen quack.
A quick tabletop tracheotomy
Performed with a toothpick and salad fork
By qualified medical professionals,
If there be any of these on hand,
Can sometimes help to dislodge the phrases
That block passage of transparent air
Back to the place of empty, senseless space.
Isn't it time for dinner yet? she asked.
And this, perhaps, was why the fish had grown,
So that it might more easily manage
The massive message that it came to impart.
And the impact of that message sufficed,
Like a strong, hot blast of desert wind,
To push me through antique revolving doors
That graced entrance to older ziggurats
Such as that which housed Assyrian kings.
Windstorms that begin small shall mushroom
And mix the soil and air in choking clouds,
Shall grow from dust devils into monsters,
From whisps that lift the bent grassblades
To cyclones that twist the horizons up.
Godhead's breath is gentle, smooth, unseen
Until knitted, knotted into brutal words.
It issues out in orthodox pants
Until it's driven through the larynx,
Until it's baffled and beaten by paddles,
Until given spin by revolving doors.
Those things are obsolete now, she said,
Except in those structures the State preserves
Against the wrecking ball's nonstop swing
As keepsakes and educational props
To illustrate bygone architecture,
The styles we loved not five years ago
And then so loathed the following season.
Ninevites now find such doors quaint.
Liber Jonae Contents